DEVELOP YOUR LEADERS, TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION. { perspectives } LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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1 DEVELOP YOUR LEADERS, TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION { perspectives } LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

2 ABOUT CORPORATE LEARNING Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning partners with clients to create world-class leadership development solutions for managers at all levels. Our team leverages the management insight, thought leadership, and expertise of Harvard Business School faculty and authors from Harvard Business Review to create tailored leadership development solutions. With more than 20 years of practical experience, our innovative, technologyenabled solutions drive meaningful and lasting business results. Corporate Learning is a market group within Harvard Business Publishing. ABOUT HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING Harvard Business Publishing was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University. Its mission is to improve the practice of management and its impact in a changing world. The company achieves its mission through its relationships with customers in three market groups: Higher Education, Corporate Learning, and Harvard Business Review Group. Through these platforms, Harvard Business Publishing is able to influence realworld change by maximizing the reach and impact of its essential offering ideas Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.

3 DEVELOP YOUR LEADERS, TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATION Traditional approaches to leader development aren t delivering on their promise. They re too detached from business operations and strategy, and focus on knowledge and skills to the neglect of values and mindsets. Here are three ways companies can better prepare their leaders to sustainably advance their competitive positions. BY SHERRY HEFFNER, SEAN KENNEDY, JOSH BRAND, AND PETER WALSH IF THE RATE OF LEARNING IS NOT GREATER THAN THE RATE OF CHANGE, YOU LL FAIL. DAVID A. GARVIN, C. ROLAND CHRISTENSEN PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL The conventional approach to leader development offers a variety of programs and developmental events, but they re often delivered in isolation. Individual managers may improve their skills, but the impact on business results is often minimal. We frequently see the following imbalances: o ocompanies spend money on manager training but struggle to create a culture of performance. o oorganizations invest heavily in programs for high potentials yet still hire outside talent for most leadership positions. o ocompanies build detailed leadership competency models, but new strategic initiatives stall. o omost learning happens informally on the job, yet the leadership development investment is still focused on big events and the classroom. o oleadership development budgets are under increasing scrutiny, even as strategies place greater demand on building capability. Adding to these pressures, corporations worldwide are faced with a widening gap in their global leadership pipeline. Organizational structures have flattened, eliminating positions that used to serve as key developmental HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING { 1 }

4 steps. Globalization and growth in emerging markets pose new challenges for leaders. And economic uncertainty continues, raising scrutiny on the investment of precious resources in leadership development. To develop the leadership capabilities across their organizations that will drive business results, learning leaders and their partners in the C-suite must take a more holistic view of how they develop leaders and how learning opportunities (both formal and informal) integrate with the organization s strategic imperatives. Based on more than two decades of working with leading organizations to drive business results through leadership development, and in partnership with our faculty from Harvard Business School and authors from Harvard Business Review, we have identified three critical elements of an effective and sustainable leadership development strategy. And while each element is necessary, only an integrated approach that brings the three together will produce a leadership culture that can drive an organization to win in its market. Requirements for Integrated Leadership Development Beyond Skills Training HELP LEADERS MASTER CRITICAL MIND SHIFTS Leaders frequently fail to live up to their personal and organizational expectations when taking on new roles or living into existing ones because they ve honed their skills but haven t learned to think in new ways. It s a challenge for new and tenured managers alike, according to research by Harvard Business School professor Linda A. Hill. She s found that, in the absence of guidance, they continue to focus on their individual ability to get things done to accomplish tasks rather than their broader role in making the team and organization more effective. The failure to make these profound identity shifts in mindset, conduct, and behavior early on can stay with leaders for years, even decades, showing up in complaints about leaders who operate below their level or lack strategic thinking. Hill warns that her findings held not just for managers struggling to make the transition, but also managers who were once highperformers but were no longer growing. Meanwhile, most leadership development programs still emphasize honing new skills and knowledge, without sufficient attention to reframing how a leader should think about her influence in the organization and what it means to be in a particular leadership role. Addressing this identity shift in leadership development efforts is critical not only for leaders to successfully make key career transitions, but also for incumbent leaders to live into their roles more fully. A major financial company saw the benefits of this approach when it revamped its frontline management program to accelerate its CRITICAL ELEMENTS FOR EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE LEADER DEVELOPMENT Organizations can address the imbalances found in most leadership development programs by going beyond traditional methods to adopt and integrate three critical elements. BEYOND SKILLS TRAINING Address self-awareness and the mindset required to succeed at particular leadership levels. BEYOND INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT PLANS Build pivotal capability to drive key imperatives required for success. BEYOND FORMAL TRAINING Embed learning with everyday work realities. { 2 } develop your leaders / transform your organization

5 KNOWING-DOING-BEING In their book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads (Harvard Business Press, 2010), Harvard Business School professors Srikant Datar and David A. Garvin describe the need to re-create a balance between teaching knowing, doing, and being in MBA curricula. While distinct, these components of learning are mutually reinforcing. The authors contention is that finding ways to integrate these three elements is critical and that a particular emphasis needs to be placed on bringing the being into balance. Our experience shows this to be true in corporate leadership development programs as well. DOING Practice Application Execution KNOWING Concepts Frameworks Information BEING Identity Perspective Values leadership pipeline. The new curriculum provided a framework for managers to understand the crucial transition toward working through others and addressed common misconceptions and pitfalls head-on. This message was reinforced by senior leaders, who shared stories with participants of their own development journeys. Key insights were translated into action plans and implemented with support from the participants managers. Framing the experience around mindset shifts brought the concepts home for managers and provided a context for meaningful application. The program, which had been considered unfocused and lacking in impact, came to be seen as a key strategic lever in the organization, which directly affected the firm s ability to attract and retain top talent. As Harvard Business School professor David A. Garvin describes, mastering the shift is a critical element that most leader development programs don t emphasize but should. He explains how leadership development should bring together a balance of knowing (the acquisition of information), doing (the application and practice of new skills), and being (the values, identity, and purpose that animate leaders). The tendency is to treat this trilogy as independent variables that can be broken apart, which leads to missed opportunities to really impact the way a leader behaves. The process of integrating these activities isn t easy or quick. And in both business and corporate education, the balance tends to be off, with a strong emphasis on knowing and doing, which leads to developing leaders who are not self-aware and not reaching their potential. Beyond Individual Development Plans BUILD PIVOTAL CAPABILITIES THAT DRIVE THE BUSINESS In a recent survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, only 33 percent of respondents said their training and skill-development programs focus on developing their companies most important capability. One reason is that most organizations assess leaders against skills-based competency models, but these models rarely differ much from one firm to another. Harvard Business Review Press authors Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood emphasize the need for leaders to focus on the pivotal capabilities that differentiate a company from the competition. Even firms in the same industry can find powerful ways to tie key skills to their strategy and culture. For example, the leadership development programs at Walmart should look quite different from those at Nordstrom. Yet simply recasting a competency model according to strategic priorities isn t enough. The impact of skills developed in isolation on an organization s strategic challenges will be minimal if learning professionals don t design programs to specifically address the challenges their firms currently face. Our HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING { 3 }

6 Conclusion STRATEGIC LEADER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS SHOULD BUILD A COMMON AND WIDESPREAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORGANIZATION S VISION AND CULTURE. HANDBOOK OF LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICE JAY CONGER, HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PRESS, 2010 work with clients has shown the dramatic outcomes from strategic, issue-based programs that cascade through multiple leadership levels and engage leaders in a common strategic conversation and project work directly tied to the strategy. For example, AT&T launched an award-winning learning program aligned with its One AT&T strategic initiative following numerous mergers. In six months, the program reached more than 100,000 frontline, mid-level and senior leaders worldwide. It promoted a common culture and focused on pivotal capabilities such as innovation, collaboration, and customer centricity. Beyond Formal Training INTEGRATE LEARNING INTO WORK PROCESSES AND ENVIRONMENT In most organizations, formal leadership development and continuous on-the-job learning experiences remain an ad hoc process insufficiently managed and poorly understood. More recently, companies have invested in social media tools with the ambition of individuals sharing, learning, and collaborating more virtually and just in time. While these tools remain a positive development, the reality of on-the-job learning falls far short of its promise. Professor Kurt Fischer from Harvard s Graduate School of Education helps shed some light on why this is hard to do. Learning isn t a simple process whereby people move from incompetence to mastery in one easy step. Instead, learners go through multiple phases of action and reflection where performance actually drops and then rises again. Complex skills simply cannot be learned without repeated application, and the level of performance is directly related to the level of support in the work environment. An effective approach to on-thejob leadership development must guide leaders to master the right skills, provide multiple opportunities for application, and offer an increased level of contextual support through processes, environment, and leadership. In their Harvard Business Review article, Is Yours a Learning Organization? Harvard Business School professors Amy Edmonson and David A. Garvin further define how firms can build learning mechanisms into everyday work. Our approach moves beyond a view of work and learning as distinct activities to an integrated view of building leadership performance. Winning organizations: oointegrate learning across the spectrum from formal to informal to drive continuous improvement: Leadership development professionals can t look at traditional classroom-based training, learning from others, and learning by doing as discrete activities. To get the best individual and organizational results, they must design processes and activities that integrate all of these over time. oobuild in ongoing opportunities for reflection and application of knowledge. Learning approaches should be extended to include multiple forms of collaboration and coaching. The ability to learn from others in a systematic way greatly increases an individual s chances for success. Leadership development is the critical priority in many of today s large, global organizations. Whether finding and developing talent to lead in emerging markets or replacing leaders who have transitioned into retirement, the question remains the same: What is the best, most effective way to develop a sufficient pipeline of high-quality leaders who can help an organization thrive? For those learning leaders serious about helping their companies win, a more strategic and integrated approach one that broadens the traditional view of leadership development and training is an absolute must. F { 4 } develop your leaders / transform your organization

7 ABOUT THE AUTHORS SHERRY HEFFNER is senior director of product development for Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. She is responsible for advancing Harvard Business Publishing s portfolio of corporate leadership development solutions and its impact for companies worldwide. Her background in technology-enabled learning and development spans fifteen years. She can be reached at SEAN KENNEDY is a senior strategic relationship manager. For more than a decade, Sean has partnered with Harvard Business Publishing s corporate clients to build leadership capacity and capability by designing customized leadership development programs for them. Previously, Sean held sales management positions in the telecom and banking industries. Contact Sean at JOSH BRAND is director of network learning and is responsible for the delivery of Leadership Direct, Harvard Business Publishing s cohort-based, virtual, in-company management education program for clients around the globe. Josh has more than 15 years of executive education and management consulting experience and has built management education programs for clients around the world. him at PETER WALSH is senior director of global marketing, responsible for all phases of global marketing, including client acquisition, client relationship management, solution marketing, and brand development. Prior to joining Harvard Business Publishing, Peter was the chief marketing officer of several leading technology and services companies. Contact him at

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